HotHardware PC Components Gift Guide 2014

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Storage Wars: SSD, PCIe And HDD

Your system is only as fast as your slowest component and for years hard drives have been the bottleneck, measuring access times in milliseconds while the rest of your rig hums along at nanoseconds.  An SSD can breath life into any system, desktop, mobile, mainstream or enthusiast.  Here are a few of our picks for the best values in SSDs and even a bulk storage honorable mention.

Ultimate Bandwidth

Toshiba OCZ RevoDrive 350 - $516, $809, $1266 - 240GB, 480GB and 960GB, Respectively
If we were to summarize the performance of Toshiba's OCZ RevoDrive 350 PCI Express SSD card, we would say it's "as fast as snot." Maybe that symbolism is lost on you, unless you're fighting off cold and flu season already, so let's talk numbers. How does 1.8GB/sec of read/write bandwidth and 140K 4K IOPs strike you?  If you need a stupid-fast storage subsystem for work like heavy duty video editing, or just don't ever want to wait for your storage subsystem to catch up, then this beast of an SSD is for you. It's built with Toshiba 19nm Flash and sports a 3 year warranty as well. Drop it into a X8 PCI Express slot and say goodbye to storage latency. 

Top Shelf SATA

Samsung SSD 850 Pro - $99 - $579 In 128GB, 256GB, 512GB And 1TB Sizes

SanDisk Extreme Pro  - $135 - $519 in 240GB, 480GB And 960GB Sizes
We're going to group these two SATA SSDs together because they're two of our favorites right now, though there are so many great choices on the market these days.  Either way, you can't go wrong for a standard, high performance SSD, in choosing either the Samsung SSD 850 Pro or the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs. It really depends on what you see for pricing and availability out there, so be sure to hit our links for both Samsung's and SanDisk's offerings and see what the market bears when you're ready to pull the trigger.  We reviewed both here and here. They rip through the benchmarks offering stable, sustained performance, even after heavy use and not just fresh out of the shrink wrap.

Low-Cost Solid State SATA Service

Toshiba OCZ ARC 100 SSD - $69 - $209 In 120GB, 240GB and 480GB Capacities
If you're still looking to stick with solid state but again, need to shave a few bucks here and there so you have something left for Salvation Army bell ringer (doing good only helps karma points, rememeber), then the OCZ ARC 100 is really almost not even a compromise.  It's currently selling for, get this, $.41 per GiB. That's a really good cost per gigabyte price point and when we put it through its paces, it proved itself to be no lame-hooved reindeer that's for sure. We reviewed it here, if you're a doubting Thomas. At at top-end 490MB/sec Read adn 450MB/sec Write spec, we'd have no problem with one of these young bucks pulling our sleigh.

Bulk Bits Warehouse

WD 4TB Black

Western Digital Black 7200RPM - $75 to $255 In 1TB, 2TB, 3TB And 4TB Capacities
Then again, like the late, great George Carlin once said, we all need a place for our "stuff."  And storing all that stuff on a smaller, most expensive SSD can be costly and impractical. That's where hard drives still make sense -- for "bulk" storage. Some of us have more bulk than others but file hoarders and digital pack rats can take yuletide solace in the Western Digital Black 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive series.  They come in 1 terabyte through 4TB capacities and if you really need a lot of space for your media, document and files collectibles, heck, just RAID up a couple, or go with the WD Red line of products for a home NAS server and float-up your own Personal Cloud.

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